Wednesday, October 24, 2007

World Series Preview

  • The Boston Red Sox are going to the World Series for the 11th time overall, 5th time in the last 41 years, and 2nd time in the last 4 years. The Colorado Rockies are making their first appearance in the "Fall Classic."


  • The objective rankings that I've been tracking this post-season...

    Bill James Playoff Predictor:

    1. 1 pt to the lead team for each half-game in the standings (BOS - 14)
    2. 3 pts to the team that scored more runs (BOS - 3)
    3. 14 pts to the team with fewer doubles (COL - 14)
    4. 12 pts to the team with more triples (COL - 12)
    5. 10 pts to the team with more home runs (COL - 10)
    6. 8 pts to the team with the lower team batting average (BOS - 8)
    7. 8 pts to the team that committed fewer errors (COL - 8)
    8. 7 pts to the team that turned more double plays (COL - 7)
    9. 7 pts to the team that walked more batters (COL - 7)
    10. 19 pts to the team that had more shutouts (BOS - 19)
    11. 15 pts to the team whose ERA was lower (BOS - 15)
    12. 12 pts to the team that has been in postseason most recently or
        went further (BOS - 12)
    13. 12 pts to the team that won season series (COL - 12)

    BOS - 71, COL - 70

    Essentially a tie.


    Baseball Prospectus "Secret Sauce" rankings:
    (Overall ranking is the sum of rankings in various pitching/defense categories, so lower is better)
    Boston (7.5) over Colorado (57)


  • The Baseball Prospectus Playoff Odds Report has the Red Sox as the 2nd-least likely series winner for the whole post-season. The unlikeliest? Colorado vs. Philadelphia.


  • Nice preview sheet from the Washington Post...


  • David Pinto's preview at The Sporting News. And if you haven't already got his Baseball Musings page linked, well, now's the time to do it.


  • Chris Lynch doesn't think that the Rockies pitching rotation makes sense.


  • Will Carroll's World Series Health Report has everyone , other than Wakefield, ready to go. "If the World Series is supposed to be the two best teams playing their best, we just might get that this year."


  • On September 15, if anyone had asked which of these teams were the better team, the question would have been laughable. The Red Sox record was 13 games better, they had scored 50 more runs, and allowed 100 fewer. Since that day, however, the Rockies have taken the field 22 times, and won 21 games. It's a historic run, made more historic by when it occurred. One more loss in the first 15 games of that stretch, and Colorado would have been golfing for the last three weeks.



    Boston Red Sox vs. Colorado Rockies - 2007
    Through September 15:

    ALWLRSRAPythagorean %Pyth Wins"Luck"

    Boston 9059804602.62994-4

    Colorado7672758707.53279-3

    Since September 15

    Boston131013391.66715-2

    Colorado21113667.785174

    Totals (include playoffs)

    Boston10369937693.635109-6

    Colorado9773894774.566961


    Here's what we know about winning streaks, however - they all end. I guess we don't know that about this one, but given that every one we've ever seen has ended, I think that this one is a good bet to end, also. The Colorado Rockies, I feel confident in saying, have not lost for the last time in franchise history.

    And they should have lost a couple more times in that stretch. Trevor Hoffman had a bad inning at a bad time, and Matt Holliday has still not scored the winning run in that game. Everything that could have gone wrong for the Arizona Diamonbacks, things that they could control and things that they could not, went wrong. So it is safe to say that the Colorado Rockies are probably the hottest team ever to start a World Series.

    The question is, does that mean anything? Looking at the course of the season, it seems to me that Boston was a better team than Colorado this year, and not just by a little. I'd rather have Josh Beckett on the mound tonight than anyone else in baseball, and what happens to the Rockies if, following 8 days off, they come out rusty and get shut down? They're 7-0 in the playoffs. What happens to them if they fall behind in a series?

    But it's baseball. The fact that streaks end doesn't mean that it will end tonight. I can (and do) think that the Red Sox are the better team, but that doesn't mean that I think that they'll win. I think that they'll play, and they'll win or they'll lose. It's a fools errand to predict the outcome of a 7-game series.


  • By VORP, Colorado's offense was better than Boston's. Boston's pitching was better than Colorado's.


    Boston Red Sox vs. Colorado Rockies - 2007
    Vorp - offenseVorp - PitchingTotal

    Boston290.2244.3534.5

    Colorado291.3198.5489.8

    By EQA, the Red Sox offense is better.


    Boston Red Sox vs. Colorado Rockies - 2007
    TeamEQAEQRR-ActR-EstDiff

    BOS-A0.27783.6867904-37

    COL-N0.263750.98518429

    The offense is actually not as close as it looks, at least by VORP, as Boston's numbers include David Ortiz as a DH, and Colorado's includes their pitchers. Boston's runs scored total was significantly less than the offensive component performance would lead you to expect. All told, it looks like the offenses are pretty even.


  • Boston's starting pitching looks significantly better. Looking at some of the more advanced Sabrmetric stats from Baseball Prospectus:


    Boston Red Sox vs. Colorado Rockies - 2007
    NAMETEAMLGYEARGSIPE(W)E(L)SNLVARE(Win%)

    BostonJosh BeckettBOSAL200730200.713.77.86.20.636

    BostonDaisuke MatsuzakaBOSAL200732204.713.410.75.10.556

    BostonCurt SchillingBOSAL200724151107.34.30.578

    BostonJon LesterBOSAL200711633.83.41.10.532

    NAMETEAMLGYEARGSIPE(W)E(L)SNLVARE(Win%)

    ColoradoJeff FrancisCOLNL200734215.314.710.75.40.578

    ColoradoJosh FoggCOLNL200729165.79.910.72.30.48

    ColoradoAaron CookCOLNL2007251669.1102.80.477

    ColoradoUbaldo JimenezCOLNL200715825.35.11.80.513



  • The Baseball Crank thinks that "Boston is clearly the stronger team, but the Rockies' hot streak is just impossible to project one way or another..."


  • I repeat - it's a fools errand to predict the outcome of a 7-game series. The better team might win, the better team might lose, and the result of this series won't tell us which is which.

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